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Covering hospital ratings? Here's one aspect consumers need you to report

Tony Leys
Tony Leys

Hospital-ratings agencies portray themselves as champions of transparency when it comes to information about health-care quality. But some clam up if you ask for details of their business arrangements.

Consumers should know that hospitals pay substantial fees for permission to run ads about awards they receive from services such as Healthgrades, U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. That fact could explain why the services offer awards in so many categories.

Tony Leys explains the arrangements, including how much some hospitals pay to use the rankings in their marketing efforts and how to find out what hospitals in your area are paying. It just might change how you cover hospital awards and ratings.

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